2021 World Chess Championship: Carlsen, Nepomniachtchi battle to fierce Game 1 draw

·Contributor
·1 min read
Russian grandmaster Ian Nepomniachtchi (left) competes against defending champion Norweigian grandmaster Magnus Carlsen during the FIDE World Chess Championship Dubai 2021 at Expo 2020 Dubai on November 26, 2021. (Photo: GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)
Russian grandmaster Ian Nepomniachtchi (left) competes against defending champion Norweigian grandmaster Magnus Carlsen during the FIDE World Chess Championship Dubai 2021 at Expo 2020 Dubai on November 26, 2021. (Photo: GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)

The opening match of the much-anticipated 2021 FIDE World Chess Championship between reigning titlist Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi ended in an intense 45-move draw on Friday (November 26) in Dubai.  

In his fourth title defense, Carlsen showcased his championship mettle and handled the black pieces with aplomb, withstanding the tough challenge of Nepomniachtchi, who came armed with deep preparation.  

The challenger banked on the Ruy Lopez out of the opening before the fancied Norwegian responded with a Marshall system.  

The match turned into a battle of attrition, where Carlsen appeared to have gained the upper hand at several portions, but Nepomniachtchi managed to hold on that led to a threefold repetition in the end.  

Prior to the start of the 14-game championship series, the two elite grandmasters have already competed against each other in 14 classical matches. In that said stretch, Nepomniachtchi held a positive win-loss record of 4-1 with 6 draws over Carlsen.  

With the world chess title on the line between two old rivals, the competition will only become more interesting as the action continues on Saturday for Game Two.  

Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.

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